The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Labour Party has disowned the Lamidi Apapa-led faction and distanced itself from a parallel National Executive Council meeting held in Bauchi.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday after a stakeholders meeting, Deputy National Chairman of the Party, Comrade Ladi Illiya, loyal to the Julius Abure-led faction, said those who gathered in Bauchi to hold a fake, unconstitutional NEC meeting do not represent the party.
Naija News reports that she was reacting to the purported NEC meeting held by a faction led by Lamidi Bashir Apapa, where they pardoned the party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, Abia State Governor-elect, Alex Otti, and others for attending Abure’s faction NEC meeting in Delta State a forthright ago.
Illiya said: “We held our authentic constitutionally approved NEC meeting in Asaba about two weeks ago. State Chairmen and Secretaries from the 36 states who are here today were in attendance. So, who then are the NEC members in Bauchi?”
Addressing reporters, the Acting National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, itemized issues affecting the party and its plans for the foreseeable future.
He said, “In furtherance of the directives from their paymasters, about six of our former but suspended members of the National Working Committee of our party, The Labour Party, are meeting in Bauchi for a fake and unlawful National Executive Council (NEC).
“Surprisingly, this is coming barely two weeks after the party held its very successful NEC meeting in Asaba, Delta state, which was attended by virtually all NEC members, including 36 state chairmen and Secretaries, all members of the National Working Committee, most of the elected members of the national assembly, leader and presidential candidate of the party, Mr. Peter Obi, party trustees including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) amongst others.
“One of the invitees of the purported NEC is our leader and presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who incidentally, on Monday was on national television where he referred to these characters as paid agents and hirelings.
“He also made it clear that he had never met with Apapa and that there were no issues in the party and that the reported crisis is just the “rascality” by paid agents bent on derailing the party to pursue justice.”
Ifoh quoted Obi saying, “In the Labour Party, we have no issue. Bar Julius Abure is our chairman, and those things you’re seeing are just the handiwork of paid agents who are trying to create confusion.”
Ifoh said the factional party leaders, in their quest for support have resorted to blackmail and financial inducement, all in an attempt to get loyal party members to switch sides.
He added that “Only last night, all our 36 member-elect of the House of Representatives and our 8 Senator-elect were represented in a caucus meeting held with the National Working Committee.
“Then again, I ask, who are these NEC members they are hoping to attend their jamboree in Bauchi?
“Article 13:2A of our party constitution is clear on the composition of the Labour Party NEC. They include our state Chairmen and Secretaries, and all other officers as have been mentioned above.
“The constitution did not state that expelled and suspended officers of the party shall convene a NEC of the party.”
APC’s Gov Behind Crisis
The Labour Party also accused Apapa of being sponsored by two governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said: “In their desperation to satisfy their paymasters, who we have already established to be two governors; one from South West and another from South East, while also using a top member of the APC National Working Committee who go in between them, this transactional arrangement will see them recruiting their usual customers; touts, market women, street hawkers. And people who are not members of the party.
“We also heard from a reliable source that they will attempt to have a blanket suspension of all our elected members of our NWC, a power that is alien and unheard of. They have also been dangling carrots to some of our leaders to either join them or be suspended.
“This is unfortunate because, were it not for the ex-parte order of the FCT High Court mischievously granted and sustained by Justice Hamza Muazu, which dangerously exposed the res, that is, the party, to danger instead of protecting it, these matters would have died a natural death.
“We have it on good authority that their sponsors are leaving nothing to chance and have vowed to continue to instigate crisis in Labour Party with the intention of benefiting from the instability which they hope will affect the party’s case at the tribunal.”